Thursday, October 30, 2014

Street harassment in 1946

With the montage video of a woman enduring street harassment repeatedly while walking in New York City making the rounds, I'm reminded of a movie I watched with friends in 2004 and the surprise in cultural norms it presented.

In The Stranger, Orson Welles is a Nazi hiding as a professor in America. At 12 minutes in he speaks to a group of young, educated, friendly men when this happens:

Watching this ten years ago gave my friends and I a big, awkward laugh because of how absolutely inappropriate this was, yet it was treated as a normal everyday event. I'm not sure what the norm was in the mid 1940's, but this scene always appeared to me to be a dipstick for society's progress.

I've looked and it's been extremely difficult to find the demographic profiles of a modern street harasser, but I imagine it has slunk back to the uneducated and ill-mannered. This is a serious problem that we shouldn't accept or tolerate, and it shouldn't just be the feminists who speak out against it.

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